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Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In its home country, František Vlácil’s Marketa Lazarová has been hailed as the greatest Czech film ever made; for many U.S. viewers, it will be a revelation. Based on a novel by Vladislav Vancura, this stirring and poetic depiction of a feud between two rival medieval clans is a fierce, epic, and meticulously designed evocation of the clashes between Christianity and paganism, humankind and nature, love and violence. Vlácil’s approach was to re-create the textures and mentalities of a long-ago way of life, rather than to make a conventional historical drama, and the result is dazzling. With its inventive widescreen cinematography, editing, and sound design, Marketa Lazarová is an experimental action film.

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • New interviews with actors Magda Vášáryová, Ivan Palúch, and Vlastimil Harapes and costume designer Theodor Pištek
  • New interviews with film historian Peter Hames and journalist and critic Antonín Liehm
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film scholar Tom Gunning and author and translator Alex Zucker and a 1969 interview with Vlácil by Liehm
  • More!

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Josef Kemr, Magda Vasaryova, Nada Hejna, Ivan Paluch, Vlastimil Harapes
    • Directors: Frantisek Vlacil
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: Czech, German
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013
    • Run Time: 159 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00BX49BZM
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,123 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: Blu-ray
    If you can imagine a cross between Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev and Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West (all made within a year of each other), you might have a notion of what Vlacil's Marketa Lazerova is like. Throw in a dash of Bergman's Virgin Spring, and you're almost there. Named by Czech critics as the best Czech film of all time, Marketa Lazerova is a poetic social critique/examination of human kind, in particular when operating outside the confines of "civilization."

    The film is set in the Middle Ages,* when family clans competed to rule the harsh territory seizing everything within their reach that they were able enough to claim and defend (not unlike the "old West" for a time), a time when religious and social order (established by the church, alongside the king and his army) was not fully accepted, and clans were used to operating in accordance with more primitive codes and authorities largely based around shamanic/mythic insights, the most basic offeudal ethics, and the strength/toughness of family numbers, from the clan leader on down.

    What sets it apart is the cinematic poetry, and anyone who has trouble with the narratives of Tarkovsky, or a modern master like Malick will probably have trouble with this film. While, a straight forward story line does exist at the core, this film speaks on many levels, and making sense of it not only requires careful consideration of everything we hear and are able to see, some of which seems contradictory until we realize that not everything is actually happening, or at least not literally as it is depicted.

    Mythic poetry is what it is, and it is the kind of film that opens up once you begin to question into it.
    Read more ›
    2 Comments 23 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    I think others have expressed well what a wonderful film this is, but the reviews are for old editions. First off, it's a great film. It reminds me of Tarkovsky and of "the Passion of Joan of Arc" in some ways. It has that kind of classic drama infused in it.

    The good news is that Criterion has done a wonderful job with the transfer. The mid-tones look great and the restoration is good without looking digitally hashed-up. The sound has some problems inherent to the original film. Much of the dialogue is looped and favored with slap-back echo. It's a minor disturbance for such a treat of a film but I did find myself wondering if those voices were inside my head sometimes!

    Criterion didn't play it safe this time and brought a stunning work of art into our homes. Kudos to them for not pandering and doing all the expected movies and for their usual fine and careful restoration work.
    Comment 9 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    The acting is amazing. The cinematography is incredible. Most Americans, lets face it, aren't going to put up with a relatively subjective and slow-moving film with several leaps in the narrative. Ultimately it is a tale of sin, repentance, rebellion, redemption and absolution, and seriously dysfunctional families. Dude, I mean sssserioussssly. And you get to see all of the gory details of their glorious dysfunctions.

    I found myself sympathizing with the characters, particularly the initially child-like Marketa who loses her innocence. I found myself wondering where they were or what would befall them. There was a sense of it being an origin of man tale akin to Clan of the Cave Bears with feudal pagan clans living like animals despite it being the 13th century, and with the vast scope of Once Upon A Time in the West. At all times, you must look and listen for symbolism and work a little to construct the disjunct, subjectively told story with jump cuts aplenty. In that sense, it's a bit like 2001 which jump cut a strange odyssey of the evolution of man into space. If it is a little "slow" or "boring", I suggest taking a break and coming back to it. Black and white often makes people feel distant from a story, and emphasizes that this is a story about something that happened a long time ago.

    The musical score deserves mention in its own right. It was truly beautiful, mixing modernistic and medieval elements. At times, it's akin to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in its bombast and references to medieval music, or invoking religious choral beauty.

    Given that the majority of us don't understand Czech, we can't understand some of the things that the director tried to achieve with language.
    Read more ›
    Comment 5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    Quite possibly the best (okay, only) surrealistic Czech period piece centering on warring clans in 13th century Bohemia. Lyrical, earthy, and downright nutty. If you love foreign film, do not miss this movie. And then go out and bug all of your friends until they see it as well.
    Comment 2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Blu-ray
    The acting is amazing. The cinematography is incredible. Most Americans, lets face it, aren't going to put up with a relatively subjective and slow-moving film with several leaps in the narrative. Ultimately it is a tale of sin, repentance, rebellion, redemption and absolution, and seriously dysfunctional families. Dude, I mean sssserioussssly. And you get to see all of the gory details of their glorious dysfunctions.

    I found myself sympathizing with the characters, particularly the initially child-like Marketa who loses her innocence. I found myself wondering where they were or what would befall them. There was a sense of it being an origin of man tale akin to Clan of the Cave Bears with feudal pagan clans living like animals despite it being the 13th century, and with the vast scope of Once Upon A Time in the West. At all times, you must look and listen for symbolism and work a little to construct the disjunct, subjectively told story with jump cuts aplenty. In that sense, it's a bit like 2001 which jump cut a strange odyssey of the evolution of man into space. If it is a little "slow" or "boring", I suggest taking a break and coming back to it. Black and white often makes people feel distant from a story, and emphasizes that this is a story about something that happened a long time ago.

    The musical score deserves mention in its own right. It was truly beautiful, mixing modernistic and medieval elements. At times, it's akin to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in its bombast and references to medieval music, or invoking religious choral beauty.

    Given that the majority of us don't understand Czech, we can't understand some of the things that the director tried to achieve with language.
    Read more ›
    Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
    This item: Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
    Price: $26.19
    Ships from and sold by Amazon.com